Should we be so quick to dispense Tamiflu?

As the Swine Flu progresses to Level 5 on the 6 point WHO Pandemic scale, in New Zealand they have decided to sell Tamiflu from Pharmacies to anyone that goes in and shows symptoms, without having to see a doctor. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or not, because it is likely that the majority of people who buy and use it won’t have the virus.

The biggest concern being expressed about this is that mass use of vaccines can encourage viruses to mutate and evolve into strains which resist vaccines and antibiotics. It seems to me that as it travels around the world it will evolve anyway, but why give it a helping hand. I just hope that there isn’t a rush on it so that people who do need it can’t get it. Tonight’s TV News did say that there was only a small increase in demand for Tamiflu. 

It’s funny watching the news on CNN and other international (read American) TV channels, who seem to almost forget about New Zealand, because early on we were one of the countries that had early exposure in fairly large numbers. Even in the last couple of days, more people have gone into quarantine, now around 500, and we are now in a situation where we actually know people who are in quarantine. It’s no longer 6 points removed.

Mexico is obviously the place that is mostly in the news, and lets hope that their plans for a 5 day national shut down will help contain things until people are no longer contagious.

According to the Google Swine Flu map, the density of infection in the countries where they have confirmed cases, is growing fast. Spain is one of the biggest outside of the US and Mexico for obvious reasons. Switzerland and The Netherlands are the latest countries to get hit.

I was watching the news last night and they were saying that they were lucky that it is spring because viruses don’t spread as much when it is warm, but of course down here in New Zealand it is cooling down and we are heading into the flu season, so it could be potentially worse here. 

Please participate in my poll. Do you know anyone who has been quarantined? It would be really interesting to see how this progresses. The feeling of it won’t happen to me may dissapear as we get to a point where we either know someone or are only 1 place removed. 

While this blog is starting to get a good following, I would love to get more readers and encouraging me to keep writing. If you feel that my blog is interesting I would be very grateful if you would vote for me in the category of best blog at the NetGuide Web Awards. Note that the form starts each site with www whereas my blog doesn’t and is of course

Thanks so much for your support:)

What happened to bird flu?

My whole family has the flu and we all feel like s**t. This got me thinking, what happened to Bird Flu? One minute everyone was worried that there wasn’t going to be enough Tamiflu vaccine to go around and now it seems it has been forgotten altogether.

Not everyone has forgotten about it. Last week 1200 people attended the 3rd European Influenza Conference in Portugal in order to make sure that the world is ready when the H5N1 virus flares up again.

One of the biggest concerns is that the virus continues to mutate and chances are that the current vaccines may not be effective any more. The front line of defense may not do the job in a pandemic situation.

So what is your plan? Do you have the supplies you need to stay home for a fwe weeks and ride it out if it comes? How will your company function if half of its staff are home ill? Do you have a business plan? I’m sure the company I work for hasn’t got one. Like most people bird flu is long forgotten and other issues such as elections, tax rebates and recession are far more pressing.

What would you do if your business closed it’s doors. The supermarket shelves were half empty because the wholesalers, truck drivers and grocery workers are all at home in bed?

What is happening in your community? Does your doctor have anough doses of Tamiflu to cove all their patients? Has your company done anything to help? Even if it did, what if Tamiflu doesn’t work anymore?

I’m not being a fatalist here, but influenza has decimated populations in history and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that sooner or later there will be a pandemic of some sort. If not that, then some other form of disaster.

So what is your plan?